France and Morocco are on the eve of a “major, serious and unprecedented rupture”, indicates the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles, tracing the origins of the grievances against Paris. The publication also analyzes relations between France and Algeria and compares them to a honeymoon that did not last despite a repeated outstretched hand.
In a column granted to the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles, the journalist Pierre d’Herbès, specialist in defense issues, gave a lucid overview of the question of the malaise between France, Morocco and Algeria.
In his deciphering of the lame balancing act led by France, the journalist affirms that Paris was courting ” too “ Algeria to “annoy” Rabat, and that despite all the efforts made by France to appease Algeria “the year 2023 was nothing like a honeymoon with Algeria despite the outstretched hand”.
This game of excessive seduction towards Algeria directly threatens France, which risks “to lose its influence there (in the Maghreb) and with direct consequences for its security”, asserts Current Values.
The magazine began by comparing the situations of relations with the two countries, focusing first on the case of Algeria. “Despite the efforts of Paris, the Franco-Algerian relationship is still feverish”, is it indicated, underlining the postponement of the visit of the Algerian president to France since the episode of the extradition of the Franco-Algerian activist, Amira Bouraoui.
On the side of Morocco, the situation is on the edge of a precipice. “Yet a historic ally of Paris, the rupture threatens”, slice the publication which recalls the failed gamble of President Emmanuel Macron at a press conference to give the illusion that relations were good.
Immediately, came the response from the Moroccan side: “Relations are neither good nor friendly” in a context of recalling the French ambassador to Rabat to appoint her elsewhere, and a similar movement operated at the Moroccan embassy in Paris. A sign of the latent crisis, Morocco has still not appointed a successor to this post, which is nevertheless strategic.
The magazine clearly explains some of the grievances against Paris. This situation, he notes, is “caused by the multiple failed attempts at rapprochement between Paris and Algiers and by the repeated attacks against Morocco in the French press in the wake of the +Qatargate+ affair, in December 2022”.
Added to this is the vote, in January, in the European Parliament, of a resolution pointing out attacks on freedom of the press in Morocco, a trigger for a diplomatic crisis.
“Morocco denounces interference and holds France responsible. The support of Macronist MEPs from the Renew group for the resolution did not go unnoticed in Rabat »indicates VA.
Despite the dissociation of Emmanuel Macron and the French ambassador to Morocco from the EU, Rabat ” also denounces a double standard vis-à-vis its Algerian neighbour”continues the magazine, which underlines that the support, in mid-April, of the same Macronist MEPs for the withdrawal of a resolution condemning the attacks on freedom of the press in Algeria, “seems to agree with the Cherifian Kingdom”. However, all these efforts by France to improve its relations with Algeria have not taken off.
The author of the column thus considers that France and Morocco are therefore on the eve of a major, serious and unprecedented rupture, without citing one of the main reasons which aggravate the situation, namely the ambiguity and the double language from Paris about the Sahara while Morocco has asked its allies to be clear about its sovereignty.
VA recalls that Algeria is the author and the origin of the conflict over the Sahara. “In the 1970s, Algeria opposed Morocco’s sovereignty over the Saharan provinces of Seguia El-Hamra and Oued Ed-Dahab. Since then, Algiers has been financing the separatist movement of the Polisario front and sheltering its rear bases on its territory”, explains the media, without mentioning the responsibility of France in drawing borders to the advantage of Algeria during colonization.
The prospect of a breakup is worrying for Paris, VA says, adding that Morocco, thanks to its religious and cultural soft power, is a strategic partner in West Africa. All the more so in a context of rising anti-French sentiment” in the region and heightened strategic competition against China, the United States, Russia and Great Britain.
And explain that “the action of religious personnel and the intelligence services of Morocco is already essential in the fight against Islamist terrorism or the settlement of the security crisis affecting the Sahel”.
The journalist wonders if France is ready to risk a divorce with Morocco, a former and Francophile partner, for an uncertain marriage with Algeria, which feeds a stubborn resentment against its former colonizer.
Emmanuel Macron has made great efforts to make people forget the memory crisis between the two countries, with the report commissioned from historian Benjamin Stora and then the creation of a joint Franco-Algerian commission whose work began in April. The expected objective will be to “give food” to the Algerians and obtain their forgiveness without asking. This process will cause the Algerian military institution to lose its goodwill, now directed against Morocco, which has become the new classic enemy of Algeria.
The French strategy of rapprochement with Algeria, fundamentally motivated by gas interests, also seems to be a losing horse since Algiers “at maximum production, has little or no additional gas to offer”contrary to the diplomatic support that Morocco could provide to make it “benefit from the still untapped gas resources of Senegal”.